New Delhi: To contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus, the Central Government on Monday recommended wearing masks at home. While addressing the media, Dr. VK Paul, Niti Aayog’s member (health) said, “It’s time people start wearing masks inside their homes as well.”
This comes at a time when there are serious concerns that the virus remains suspended in the air in the form of an aerosol. Authorities also stressed the immediate isolation of anyone who has symptoms related to Covid to break the chain of transmission. Meanwhile, several doctors and health experts told The Sunday Guardian that though it is not a practical solution but it can add a layer of safety when someone at home is infected.
DrHarish Chafle, a Senior Consultant at Pulmonology and Critical Care at Global Hospitals, Mumbai, told The Sunday Guardian: “As per the recent notification by NITI Aayog, wearing a mask at home is important in tackling the spread of the coronavirus during its second wave. The reason behind the wearing of masks at home is announced is because the new strain of virus that has been found is more infectious than the previous one. WHO had recently commented that the spread of the virus has gone somewhat airborne, this means that contact isn’t necessary to catch Covid. Considering these situations, the announcement to wear masks at home was made by the think tank, especially if any member of the home is showing symptoms that are suggestive of Covid, or if a member has tested positive, with milder symptoms and is being asked to quarantine themselves at home.”
DrLancelot Pinto, Consultant Pulmonologist, P.D Hinduja Hospital & MRC, spoke to The Sunday Guardian and said, “Wearing masks at home may add a layer of safety when someone at home is infected, especially if the airconditioning is central, or the ventilation is suboptimal. However, I do not see it as a practical solution, given the fact that meals are eaten at home, and the discomfort caused by my masks isn’t trivial. Ventilating the home as well as possible, hand sanitizing frequently, and making the infected person wear a mask are likely to yield much more than a relatively impractical solution like asking everyone to wear masks at home.”
Jai Dhar Gupta, Founder of Nirvana Being, and Founder of the Citizen Movement, ‘My Right to Breathe’ pointed out that in myriad cases, entire households are getting infected once one member is positive.
Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Gupta said, “There is no social distancing indoors; even if you have one infected person in the room, you cannot escape the virus until you mask up. So wearing a mask indoors is necessary with the way the cases are rising.”
Dr. Shivani Sachdev Gour, Director of SCI Healthcare pointed out that, “Wearing masks at home recommendation came as a study in China which interviewed people and found that wearing masks at home reduces the risk of transmission by 79 percent as most households have someone infected.”
“Even children above the age of 2 years,”Dr. Shivani believes, “should wear masks if they can tolerate it for as long as they can.”